Author Yvette Christiansë Will Read Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Amherst Books

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

September 28, 2007
Contact: Katherine Duke '05
Writer/Editor
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

Editor's Note: Tonight's reading has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

AMHERST
, Mass.—Author Yvette Christiansë will read from her work at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Amherst Books (8 Main Street, Amherst, Mass.). Sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, the event is open to the public at no charge.

In a starred review, Kirkus called South African poet Yvette Christiansë’s novel Unconfessed “a gorgeous, devastating song of freedom that will inevitably be compared to Toni Morrison’s Beloved.” The book was a finalist for 2007 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction, and Caroline Leavitt described it as a “stunningly intimate, heart-wrenching history of slave life in Africa.” Christiansë is an associate professor of literature and postcolonial studies at Fordham University.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center sponsors a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. For more information, please call 413/542-8200.

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Amherst College Biologist Ethan Clotfelter Receives NSF Grant to Study Effects of Chemical Contamination on Fish

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen
September 28, 2007
Contact: Katherine Duke '05
Writer/Editor
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—Ethan Clotfelter, assistant professor of biology at Amherst College, has received a grant of $244,541 from the National Science Foundation. The award will support three years of research on the effects of phytoestrogens on animals.

When animals ingest or are exposed to phytoestrogens, these naturally occurring plant compounds amplify the effects of the estrogens that the animals’ own bodies produce. The results are alternations in behavior, reproductive endocrinology and neurophysiology.

Clotfelter’s work will focus on fish, which are likely to experience phytoestrogen contamination from industrial and agricultural sources.

A member of the Amherst faculty since 2003, Clotfelter received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in zoology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His primary research concerns the behavioral ecology and physiology of animals, particularly of birds and fish.

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Artist and Author Ann Fessler To Speak at Amherst College Thursday, Oct. 4

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen
September 28, 2007
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—Ann Fessler, professor of photography at Rhode Island School of Design and a specialist in installation art, will speak about her work at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, in Pruyne Lecture Hall at Amherst College. Sponsored by the department of art and art history, Fessler’s talk is free and open to the public.

Fessler will speak about the development of her visual work, which includes photography and audio/visual installation, over the last 30 years. She will also discuss her acclaimed non-fiction book, The Girls Who Went Away (2006). In it, Fessler uncovers the history of the 1.5 million women who surrendered children for adoption in the several decades before Roe v. Wade—single pregnant women, caught in the middle and shunned by family and friends. They were expelled from schools and sent away to maternity homes to have their children alone, often treated with cold contempt by doctors, nurses and clergy. Of the book, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “A collection of deeply moving personal tales bolstered by solid sociological analysis—journalism of the first order.” An adoptee herself, Fessler begins and ends the book with the story of her own successful quest to find her birth mother.

In 2004 Fessler received a prestigious Radcliffe Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University to complete her extensive, five-year research project for The Girls Who Went Away. She is also the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the LEF Foundation, Boston; the Rhode Island Foundation; the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities; Art Matters, New York; and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Fessler received her M.F.A. in photography from the University of Kansas, her M.A. in media studies from Webster University in St. Louis and her B.A. in art from Ohio State University. Her work has been featured at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

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Amherst College Colloquium on the American Founding Sets Lectures Sept. 28 and 29

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

September 28, 2007
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—The Colloquium on the American Founding at Amherst College will host a number of lectures on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28 and 29. The events are open to the public at no charge.

  • English writer and philosopher Roger Scruton will lecture on “Faith and the Challenges of Secularism” at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in Cole Assembly Room. This event is co-sponsored by the Newman Club.
  • Scruton will discuss “Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged,” on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 9:30 a.m. in the Babbott Room of the Octagon.
  • Amy Wax, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, will speak on “Race, Wrongs and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century” Saturday, Sept. 29, at 10:30 a.m. in the Babbott Room of the Octagon.
  • Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals will give a lecture on “Racial Preferences and the Schools in Seattle,” on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m. in Lewis-Sebring Dining Hall.
  • Chief Judge John Mercer Walker, Jr. of the Second Federal Circuit Court in New York will give a talk titled “Can the Judges Themselves Violate the Constitution --and Other Matters: A Conversation” on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 3 p.m. in Lewis-Sebring Dining Hall.

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Amherst College Will Host Community Artmaking Celebration Friday, Sept. 28

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen
September 24, 2007
Contact: Betsy Siersma
Visiting Curator
Mead Art Museum
413/542-2941
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College campus community and interested individuals from the broader area community are invited to participate in creating nine large-scale public artworks on Friday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Valentine/Fayerweather Quad at Amherst College. The artworks—portraits of students, faculty and staff from Amherst College—have been generated by the college’s visiting artist-in-residence Wendy Ewald and guest artist Brett Cook, with participation from students in Ewald’s seminar The Practice of Collaborative Art, members of the campus community and the subjects of the portraits.

The Sept. 28 day of collaborative artmaking is a creative social event. A menu of local and organic food will be provided by the Amherst College Dining Services, and music will be provided by area musicians Chris Buono, D.J. Root and Amherst College students. Food and music will complement opportunities for creative expression in working on the portraits, as well as many chances for dialogue and community connection. There will also be materials for people to work in clay, with cameras and in sketchbooks, all with the intention of reflecting on and representing community and learning.

The project will culminate on Thursday, Nov. 29, when five 10-foot x 30-foot portrait triptychs will be mounted across the campus and an exhibition of one of the triptychs will open at the Mead Art Museum. The Mead exhibition will also include documentation of the collaborative process. The exhibition will run through January 20, 2008, and a catalogue will document and highlight the full experience.

Working collaboratively with communities represents a recent phenomenon, as it upends the notion of the artist working individually within a rarified context. Collaborating with “non-art-world” communities extends and expands the creative potential of artmaking, as it incorporates many different experiences, stories, points of view and ways of seeing. For Wendy Ewald and Brett Cook, it is a way of being as well as a way of working. The rewards of working in a participatory way hinge on generosity and reciprocity.

For more than 30 years photographer Wendy Ewald has taken an unusual artistic path, working with children and adults around the world, encouraging her students to become photographers and working as a “translator” of their images. Using creative collaboration as the basis of the artistic process, she has worked in communities in Labrador, Appalachia, Colombia, India, South Africa, Holland, Mexico, North Carolina and, most recently, Margate in England. Her artistic collaborations have been widely published and exhibited, and she has received recognition for her innovative creative practice, including a MacArthur Fellowship and major grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation and others. She is currently senior research associate for documentary studies at the Center for International Studies at Duke University, in Durham, N.C., as well as visiting artist in residence at Amherst College.

Brett Cook has exhibited in museums and galleries and has engaged in public projects since 1991. His public works, often ephemeral in nature, have been executed in the U.S. from California to Maine, and internationally in Brazil, Barbados and Mexico. Some have been commissioned by museums or pubic agencies, while others have been self-initiated interventions in abandoned spaces. Among his public projects is a collaboration in South Central Los Angeles addressing divinity, and the Development/Gentrification Project with 10 installations throughout Harlem. The work involves the participation of the subjects, giving people a voice and empowering marginalized communities. His work is currently on view in the exhibition Portraiture Now: Framing Memory at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

The Amherst College Collaborative Project is sponsored by the President’s Office, the Mead Art Museum, the Department of Art and Art History and the Center for Community Outreach.

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“Estonia” Society Mixed Choir to Perform at Amherst College on Oct. 3, and First Congregational Church on Oct. 4

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

September 21, 2007
Contact: Sara Leonard
Concert Manager
413/542-2195
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass. – The Mixed Choir of the “Estonia” Society will give a concert in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The choir will also give a concert at First Congregational Church in Amherst on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m. The concert at Amherst College is open to the public at no charge. Tickets for the First Congregational Church performance are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children.

Originally established in 1912, the Mixed Choir of the “Estonia” Society was re-established in 1990 after Estonia’s “Singing Revolution” of 1987-1991. The choir has performed throughout Estonia, the Baltics and Europe to increasing acclaim, and has won gold and silver awards at choral competitions in Vienna, Scandinavia and the Baltics.

The Mixed Choir is made up of 50 female and male singers from across Estonia. Their repertoire includes major choral works of Mozart, Bach, Schubert and Mendelssohn, as well as traditional Estonian folk and religious genres and works by contemporary Baltic composers. At Amherst College they will give an exclusively Estonian program. At First Congregational Church the program will be almost exclusively Estonian.

For Amherst College concert information call the Concert Office at 413/542-2195. For First Congregational Church concert information or tickets call 413/253-3456.

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Eric Mazur Will Deliver Phi Beta Kappa Lecture at Amherst College Oct. 4

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

September 17, 2007
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—Harvard physicist Eric Mazur will deliver Amherst College’s Phi Beta Kappa lecture, on “How the Mind Tricks Us: Visualizations and Visual Illusions,” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in Lecture Hall 2 of the Merrill Science Center at Amherst College. The lecture and a reception that follows are open to the public at no charge.

Neurobiology and cognitive psychology have made great progress in understanding how the mind processes information—in particular, visual information. The knowledge we can gain from these fields has important implications for the presentation of visual information and student learning.

A member of the Harvard faculty since 1984, Eric Mazur holds appointments as Harvard College Professor, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and professor of physics. His research is in optical physics. He also devotes time to finding ways to improve science education. This research has led to the publication of Peer Instruction, a manual that offers methods for teaching large lecture classes interactively.

In 1988 Mazur received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award and, in 2001 he received the NSF Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. A fellow of the American Physical Society and its Centennial Lecturer in 1998-99, he has been a visiting professor or distinguished lecturer at the University of Leuven in Belgium, the National Taiwan University, Carnegie Mellon University, Hong Kong University and Vanderbilt University. He is the author of hundreds of scientific publications and serves on the editorial board of Journal of Science Education and Technology.

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Author Sue Miller Will Read Wednesday, Sept. 26, at Amherst College

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen
September 17, 2007
Contact: Katherine Duke ’05
Writer/Editor
413/542-2321
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—Author Sue Miller will read from her work at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, in Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, the event is open to the public at no charge.

Miller is the bestselling author of nine books of fiction, including The Good Mother and Inventing the Abbotts. Reviewing While I Was Gone, William H. Pritchard praised both the “patient, unfancy, locally rooted narration that has been Miller’s trademark” and Miller’s “commitment to rendering the weave and texture—above all, the tonality—of the everyday.” Miller’s forthcoming The Senator’s Wife offers another rich portrait of private lives; the book will be published early in 2008.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center sponsors a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. For more information, please call 413/542-8200.

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Grammy-Nominated Senegalese Kora Player Youssoupha Sidibe to Perform at Amherst College on Sunday, Sept. 23

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen
September 17, 2007
Contact: Sara Leonard
Concert Manager
413/542-2195
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass. – Senegalese Kora player Youssoupha Sidibe will give a concert in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23. The event is open to the public at no charge. Seating is by general admission.

Youssoupha Sidibe’s musical career began more than 20 years ago in Senegal, West Africa. He was trained at the National Music Conservatory of Senegal, where he learned to play the Kora, an indigenous harp. Today, Youssoupha’s music fuses traditional West African sounds with the Sufi devotional chanting of the Senegalese Baay Faal community. The angelic sounds of the Kora soulfully carry Youssoupha’s heartrending devotional lyrics and serve to invoke the divine through Sufi sound.

Since his arrival on the international music circuit, Youssoupha has recorded, performed, and collaborated with artists including Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, India.Arie, Charles Neville and Matisyahu. His album, Youth, recorded in collaboration with Matisyahu, has gone gold and was nominated in January 2007 for a Grammy Award for best reggae album of the year.

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Annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon Is Saturday, Sept. 29: All Around the Town and Back!

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen
September 13, 2007
Contact: Donna M. Abelli
Development and Marketing Manager
The Emily Dickinson Museum
413/542-5084
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—On Saturday, Sept. 29, from 6 a.m. until approximately midnight, the Emily Dickinson Museum will host its third marathon reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson. For the first time, the Poetry Marathon will travel from the Dickinson Homestead into town. The Amherst Town Hall, Frost Library at Amherst College and the Fiber Art Center will all host part of the marathon. This event is free and open to the public.

Each year the marathon attracts poets, writers, journalists, children, college students, families, teachers, poetry lovers and the curious. All are welcome to stay for the 18+ hours or drop in to listen for some of their favorite poems. Anyone who wishes to read Dickinson’s poetry during the marathon is especially encouraged to attend, but listeners are also welcome.

The event will take place rain or shine. For information on how you can participate as a reader in the marathon, please visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events or e-mail csdickinson@emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

The marathon begins at 6 a.m. at the Emily Dickinson Museum, and continues there until 9 a.m. From 9 a.m. to noon, the marathon takes place at the Amherst Town Hall, located at the corner of Main Street and Boltwood Avenue. The marathon then continues at Amherst College’s Frost Library from noon to 3 p.m. and returns to the Emily Dickinson Museum from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The ambitious event progresses to the Fiber Art Center, located at 79 South Pleasant St., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and resumes at the Emily Dickinson Museum at 9 p.m. until it ends.

This program is part of “BookMarks: A Celebration of the Art of the Book,” a region-wide festival from September 2007 to January 2008 that will bring to life the Pioneer Valley’s great literary traditions through film, family events, lectures and readings.

This initiative is sponsored by the Emily Dickinson Museum and Museums10, a partnership of 10 museums and friends (including Amherst College’s Frost Library, the Mead Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History) within the Pioneer Valley. More information about “BookMarks” is available on the Museums10 Website, www.museums10.org.

The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens is devoted to the story and legacy of poet Emily Dickinson and her family. Owned by the trustees of Amherst College, the museum is overseen by a separate board of governors charged with raising its operating and capital funds. The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and residence of the poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). The Evergreens was the 1856 home of the poet’s brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson.

The Emily Dickinson museum is located at 280 Main St. in Amherst, Mass., and the official museum Website is at www.emilydickinsonmusuem.org. Hours for September through October are Wednesday through Sunday, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; for November through December 8, hours are Wednesday and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The museum will host extended hours to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and will be closed the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

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